Plumtree: We can match them

2011-06-24 14:34

Durban - The Sharks head into Saturday's Super Rugby qualifier against the Crusaders in Nelson quietly determined to pull off the unthinkable - beating the seven-time champions in New Zealand.

It is something that has never been done during the knockout stages of the competition, but Sharks coach John Plumtree believes his side has what it takes to make history and earn a place in the semi-finals.

Plumtree has spoken all week about the effects of jetlag being the biggest hurdle for the Durban-based team to overcome - they embarked on an 11 000km journey on Tuesday - but that is largely beyond their control.

What the Sharks can attempt to do is match their opponents stride for stride and hope to come up with a result similar to the one achieved against the Bulls in Pretoria last week when they won an epic encounter to reach the playoffs.

"We've got a forward pack that can scrum and a lineout that's also pretty good," Plumtree said.

"We've got a pack that can compete and that's going to be key if it's wet and cold down there as predicted.

"We've got a Freddie Michalak that can control the game, and we've got a Pat Lambie kicking game at the back as well, so as long as we defend really well in our set-piece functions we make sure the territory is in our favour."

One thing the Sharks know for certain is that they will need to be on the button in all areas of the field as they try and end a Crusaders record that reads 16 wins out of 16 in Super Rugby knockout games on home soil.

However, there is a significant difference this time around for the hosts as they are playing at Trafalgar Park rather than their usual home ground at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

The Christchurch venue was damaged after an earthquake earlier this year, forcing the Crusaders to use other grounds in Nelson, Timaru and Napier, as well as Twickenham in London where they played once this season.

Coincidentally, the game in London was played against the Sharks and the New Zealand outfit ran out 44-28 winners.

"Obviously a big part of that win was Dan Carter, Sonny Bill Williams and Robert Fruean," Plumtree said.

"Their ability to shift the ball in to space, whether it was from the hand or from kicking, is a key to their game and obviously the foundation to their game is built around their scrum.

"So we have to make sure that we scrum really, really well against the Crusaders this weekend.

"If we can look after their defensive flair and their scrums well, then anything can happen."

Plumtree added that the front row battle could be vital in deciding the match, admitting there was still room for improvement from his front three.

"It's a very good scrimmaging side. They have a very short front row and they scrum very low.

"But we've got a pretty big front row ourselves. We're going to have to scrum a lot better than we did against the Bulls, and the boys know that."

As for the task of ending the hosts' exceptional home record, as well as the Sharks' own woeful record of never beating the Crusaders away, Plumtree said his players had grown in confidence after their win over the Bulls, and he believed they had the ability to pull off a shock victory.

"I think what happened on the weekend gives them that belief," he said.

"It was a huge game, it was a knockout and that could give us a lot of belief.

"If we can take that confidence across to New Zealand and apply it for 80 minutes then you never know."


  • jk - 2011-06-24 14:39

    what else is he gonna say?? that they gonna loose(he cant say that to us he??) so a boring article, backing up all my statements sofar. Hello anneleeen...

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-24 14:51

      you cant

      Shihan - 2011-06-24 14:51

      Because they are going to beat the Crusaders. Where is the Bulls? And we win the final as well.

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-24 14:52

      FAKE ,NOT ME

      Anneleen - 2011-06-24 15:01

      @hallo JK! Sien jy is omtrent besig vanmiddag! Dis net reg dat jy jou statements "back-up", nes ek die Sharks-statements doen...

      Theuns - 2011-06-24 15:41

      Mr Plumtree best photo ever...Ja en as jy wakker word is jou coffee ys koud... Ek wens hulle het daai Trok se nommer plaat gevat wat al daai |(a|( tussen sy ore gedump het... Kom more...twee woorde ... VIS KOTS

      The_Fox - 2011-06-24 16:01

      Howzit Anneleen, sterkte met jou span vir more. Ek hoop regtig hulle gee die Saders pak.

      Anneleen - 2011-06-24 16:20

      @The_Fox...baie dankie vir jou goeie wense!!!

      Andy49 - 2011-06-24 17:47

      It's the Plum Tree speaking again, again again & again. Hope the Sharks can live up to the hype.

      Martin - 2011-06-24 18:00

      No Flamby, you got it all wrong mate - Sharks already shat out bees ballas, making space for some sword wielding sheep shaggers!

      Theuns - 2011-06-24 19:01

      @Martin..the only thing that is getting shagged or shafted come tomorrow are the SHARKS...wat se ons...VIS KOTS!!!

      GraemeBB - 2011-06-25 00:08

      The cold, hard facts are that so many guys here talk the talk, but dwindle of the path of righteousness! Community stats would suggest that 7 out of every 10 people playing Superbru, think the Sharks are going to lose. HOWEVER, say that you think they dont have what it takes on this site, and you are branded a poor South African. My view is that the Sharks will lose by a comfortable margin. It is possible that they win the game, but extremely unlikely indeed. Why? After a crunch game against the Bulls, and then the travel, I think the boys will need to dig deep. The Sharks lost in London against the Crusaders, and I am sure that will be in the back of their minds too. I dont believe that the Bulls would have beat the Crusaders had they won the Sharks last weekend iether. BUT, this is rugby, and the results this year has been anything but academical, and that may well be the best mathamatical chance that the Sharks have. I got it as Crusaders by 12. Lets see.

      mike - 2011-06-25 00:15

      Graeme the difference is the Bulls would have played the Blues not the Saders had they won. Much easier game and one the Bulls could definately have won, then they would of played the Reds, again easier then playing the Saders at home but probably would of been a bridge to far for them too.

      CliffB - 2011-06-25 06:54

      GraemeBB: Welcome back , thought I had to dust off the suit for a funeral !!!

      GraemeBB - 2011-06-25 17:03

      @Cliff - It took me a while to get over the loss of my Bulls : -)

  • BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-24 14:47

    Good luck,(cant believe i m saying this)

      gooinat - 2011-06-24 14:50

      Me neither:):)lol

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-24 14:54

      Realy me ,but i notice the profile poacher is on board so see ya on monday

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-24 15:00

      This is the real Agent.Gooinat i would like to be friends(good friends ) but i better go as the Eiffel is here.

      Shistirrer - 2011-06-24 16:09

      Effel die Kanadoos is al weer wakker uit sy babalaas slapie.

      Dowwe Duane - 2011-06-24 20:26

      @Shitstirrer What are you talking about? I haven't been on here for 3 days???

  • jk - 2011-06-24 14:49

    why did you say it agent??

  • Anneleen - 2011-06-24 14:49

    ...yes Sharks, you DO have what it takes...backing you all the way!!!!! ...wearing my Sharks-jersey today and it feels mighty good displaying the team colours!!!!! pride and passion!!!!!

      gooinat - 2011-06-24 14:51

      Good luck Anneleen,I will be backing your team tomorrow,would really like to mmet you guys in the semi's.

      Anneleen - 2011-06-24 14:59

      @thank you gooinat!!! Sjoe, an all SA final would be just awesome...

      Shistirrer - 2011-06-24 16:11

      Effel, you need serious help. You are one disturbed individual.

      Kleinboet - 2011-06-24 23:51

      Anneleen, I'll back your Shark team for tomorrow and next week against the Reds, but then you're on your own! When you come to Cape town for the final, we're going to eat sardines! I'm positive that your team stands a good chance if they can beat jet lag.

  • The Grinch - 2011-06-24 14:53

    John, in 2009 you guys won your first 4 matches. You were top of the log if I remember correctly. Then you said that you guys know how to win. The following weekend you guys lost 25-13 to the Reds. This Reds team finished 13th on the log. Your season went downhill from there and you finished 6th on the log. Rather shut your trap.

      SNG62 - 2011-06-24 15:02

      Grinch, look at your calendar - it's 2011 & the Sharks are IN the playoffs, which is more that 3 other SA teams can say!

      The Grinch - 2011-06-24 15:11

      Listen to what I'm saying nitwit. He's big mouth has backfired on him before. I don't care what year it is.

      Shaft-Your-Own - 2011-06-24 15:31

      Grinchie nice - see potential for friendship here my preciousssss Hehehehehehehehe

      Andy49 - 2011-06-24 17:47

      It's the Plum Tree speaking again, again again & again. Hope the Sharks can live up to the hype.

  • BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-24 14:56

    Who let the dogs out woof woof who let the dogs out woof woof

      Shadow - 2011-06-24 15:37

      What you think of someone banning your IP Bladdy Agent?

      CliffB - 2011-06-25 06:59

      Shadow: The real Bloody agent never said that , it comes from a" highly acclaimed " doctor in Canada - " I'm a lumberjack & I'm ok , I work all night & sleep all day, I like to wear womans clothes and press wild flowers "

  • Spartan - 2011-06-24 15:13

    The Force is with you. Go Boys!!!

  • SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-24 15:43

    Far too many trolls and fakes on the prowl. I am off to toast the great Bok that was Ricky January and the try that will never be forgotten.Best wishes for the future Ricky. Best wishes for tomm Sharkies (and Shark fans) - Have a great wekeend all.

  • Rob - 2011-06-24 15:49

    Ok enough talking, time to play and win. Thats what counts..

  • jk - 2011-06-24 15:54

    ai tog, the whole lot makes me laugh!! bloody agent you the worst, where u from china?, anelleeen, hope yoiu bought an original jersey and not the fake one you use to wear

      Anneleen - 2011-06-24 16:00

      @jk...ha-ha! Nothing fake about the Sharks, and nothing fake about my jersey...:)

  • Northern Stormer - 2011-06-24 16:00

    GO SHARKS - ALL OF RSA SUPPORT YOU GUYS - and those who don't enjoy Wimbledon because that's where you belong then !!!!!!!

  • Byron - 2011-06-24 16:02

    the super rugby is nearly over and you still have jelous pple still commenting about the sharks and its not going to happen bla bla bla!!! well atleast we are there and your teams are not!! coastal sides are dominating its just a pity it aint gonna be a sharks stormers semi!! this is now about SA rugby and we should all unite behind our SA sides!!!! good luck sharks and stormers i pray you both make it and we have a SA final!!!!

      Shistirrer - 2011-06-24 16:17

      Byron, have you ever heard the term "suurgatte"? I pity them, they will be missing some brilliant rugby.

      Shaft-Your-Own - 2011-06-24 18:46

      Why should we support SA sides just because we are South African? hehehehehehehe...

  • Ace Ventura - 2011-06-24 16:58

    Hi all. I'm off for the weekend. Any comments made under this name, will not be from me but from the fake profile thief. I appologise for his vile, offensive behaviour and the fact that he supports the Crusaders. If however you do require my expert input into any matter, please leave a message on my blog ( and I will reply. Enjoy you weekend and see you on Monday. Gooooo Sharks.

      Shaft-Your-Own - 2011-06-24 18:47

      You are the Fake Ventura. Go Crusaders! - Hehehehehehehehe

  • BardofAvon - 2011-06-24 17:45

    Good luck Sharks. If you can pull this off, under brutal, unfair, circumstances, it will be incredible. I have called off my Shark jersey -burning ceremony at the Voortrekker Monument tomorrow morning at 09h30 and will instead be rooting for you guys. Call me soft, but you deserve all the support you can get. *sniff*

  • Bandleader - 2011-06-24 17:48

    Logically I cannot see the Sharks winning, but naturally I hope they do. The travel weariness and the Crusaders home country advantage might be too much. Can the Sharks lift themselves to play a second blinder back-to-back? And should they win, they face the Reds in Oz. Their performance has been hot-and-cold this season, so might be a bridge too far. Let's hope for the best. Would be wonderful to have an all-SA final again.

  • Mel - 2011-06-24 18:25

    he is a b i g d r e a m e r ........

      Lord Haw-Haw - 2011-06-24 18:49

      With a surname like Cupido what can one expect - how 1980's

  • Shaft-Your-Own - 2011-06-24 18:38

    Plumtree, you want a match? - your breath and Tarzan's loin cloth heheheheheehehehe

  • Rygar - 2011-06-24 18:52

    I will eat my hat if they beat the saders Im not saying I want them to lose but they are just no match for the Crusaders at home, THEY WILL LOSE

      RJ - 2011-06-24 20:29

      May I have some of that hat

  • Jackool - 2011-06-24 21:22

    What kind of a plonker, negative comment to make by a coach. You don't tell your team that you can match them, you tell your team that you can beat them! Not a lot of confidence in his team I suppose.

  • David - 2011-06-24 21:49

    Bambi - you are such an idiot. Get off here and go play in the woods. You are so sour that you are an embarassment to Bull supporters.

      Shaft-Your-Own - 2011-06-25 00:47

      Bambi is halfway to being cool - at least he shafts other SA teams - soon he will join our exclusive club of uber cool guys that shaft all our SA teams Nothing better than shafting-your-own Hehehehehehehehe

  • SharkNel - 2011-06-25 06:45

    do SHARKS show the bulls we can do it

  • steven.J.groenewald - 2011-06-25 07:34

    Its going to be a tough one but i do believe the sharks will break them

  • Drewka - 2011-06-25 08:25

    No matter the outcome - SHARKS FOREVER!!!!!! but it would be such a upset for NZ rugby and a boast to the Boks. Setting the standard for RWC. Good luck SBW and Carter, Willem Alberts (the bone collecter) is waiting for you...

      darkwing - 2011-06-25 11:10

      Shame, Sharks supporters, looks like you are really losing badly.

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